Dorothy’s Iconic Ruby-Red Slippers Are on Sale for $6 Million

Dorothy clicking her ruby-red heels in “The Wizard of Oz” is one of the most memorable movie moments of all time. One deep-pocketed film fan can own a piece of that cinematic history now that a pair of the iconic shoes has been put up for sale by auction house Moments in Time. The price tag? A whopping $6 million.

According to the auction listing, the slippers, made by Innes Shoe Co., were used by the MGM studio for promotion of the 1939 movie. Incredibly, given their value today, the pair was once owned by a Tennessee teenager, Roberta Bauman, who won the shoes as second prize in a National Four Star Club “name the best movies of 1939” contest. Sixty years later, Bauman’s lucky shoes were auctioned by Christie’s East for nearly $700,000.

Like other identical pairs made for the film, the shoes feature a Victorian-era French spool heel design and are made of red silk faille, covered in hand-sequined crepe Georgette. They are lined with white kid leather. The shoes’ toes are each adorned with a decorative bow that is rimmed in 46 rhinestones, surrounding 42 bugle beads and three larger rectangular jewels.

Though speculation varies on the exact number, actress Judy Garland — who played Dorothy in the classic movie based on author L. Frank Baum’s children’s book — wore several pairs of the shoes while filming. After languishing on MGM’s Culver City, Calif., lot for more than three decades after production wrapped, one pair eventually landed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The shoes are undergoing conservation with the help of more than $370,000 in funds raised through a 2016 Kickstarter campaign.

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One pair of red slippers is part of the permanent collection at the National Museum of American History.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution

Another pair, originally owned by costumer Kent Warner, changed hands a few times before being put up for sale in 2011 by the auction house Profiles in History. Although it was estimated that they would fetch at least $2 million, the shoes ultimately did not sell. In 2012, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg and several other angel donors helped acquire the pair for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ museum, which is set to open next year.

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